philipmartin wrote:The Newark Air Train is going on nineteen years of age, near the end of its life expectancy. They spend millions building these things and expect them to last only twenty years.
If they want to extend PATH rails from South Street, Newark, to the airport station, and they have to replace the monorail, why not extend the PATH to the airport terminals?
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I think it is a good idea that the PA is not taking the PATH all the way in to the terminal complex to replace the Airtrain, right now
. The Airtrain has stops at each terminal, serving as an intra-airport circulator as well as a link to the RAILink station--the only station where access is paid. I am hard pressed to see how the PATH fare control system could be redesigned to serve intra-airport traffic for free while requiring customers going beyond airport limits to pay. One possible solution is to build one stop for all three terminals, near where the control tower is, but in this case the PATH would not be able to serve as a circulator given how the terminals are designed.
Which brings me to my next point: all three terminals are too small for the amount of passengers they serve anyway, and they were not designed according to today's standards (Going into that is a topic for airliners.net). It's not really the fault of the designers; the evolution of air travel would have been difficult for anyone to predict when EWR was being planned. However, I think that retrofitting the current terminal complex will be more costly and yield fewer benefits than building new structures. The PA is already eyeing a new Terminal A where the south cargo ramps are. It is anyone's guess if that plan will come to fruition as designed, which is exactly my point: there are too many unknowns right now
. Here is my armchair educated guess: all three current terminals come down and get replaced gradually over the next few decades. Given UA's EWR dominance, I think a rebuilt EWR will come out more homogeneous than JFK. Eventually, I can see the PATH coming into the EWR terminal complex, but I say it can wait until at least a loose vision for the whole airport is more fleshed out.